The school year is over, summer break has begun and teachers all over are getting a well-deserved break. I hope that you get the rest and relaxation you need to recharge your batteries! If there’s one thing I’ve learned in education, however, it’s that teachers don't really take summer off. Teachers are some of the hardest working folks I know, and summer
is the time when you start thinking about next year's classroom.
As a former school district tech director, I wanted to offer a small, helpful guide on how to get ready on the technology front for the start of another school year.
1. If you have technology items that aren’t working, let your tech team know now!
The summer may bring districts time with no students and fewer staff, but it’s typically the time that your IT staff is really cranking up projects. They’re working on implementing new technology and maintaining what is already there. It’s usually a sprint through the summer, and then when we get close to returning to school, it’s a fever pitch! If you wait until later in the summer to let your IT staff know what’s wrong, they may not be able to get to it until well into the school year, so be proactive.
I know most schools have you leave a list of problems of all sorts - from general maintenance repairs to furniture to technology - but sometimes those get lost in translation. It never hurts to send a short note over to your IT staff letting them know how you’re using your technology and specifically what isn’t working. The more details they have, the easier it is for them to fix it.
2. If you have plans for new technology next year, get those conversations started today.
Many times, teachers would have brilliant ideas for how to use technology in the classroom but wait until too late into the summer to try and implement. Once again, with everyone gearing up for the new school year in August, it’s too late to begin.
A few tips for implementing new technology:
- Start by talking to your administrators and building principals. When they have bought into your plans, you’ve instantly earned another advocate to help bring implementation to pass.
- Talk to your IT staff and tell them about your plans--not just the technology pieces but the impact it will have on students. The IT staff is more invested in your students' success than you may realize. Be prepared for your IT people to discuss any holes in your plan, but ask them how you can help solve those problems that may arise.
- Learn that technology today! If you have plans for new hardware, software or apps, start playing with them today (or as soon as you can) so you can be prepared when the new school year begins.